• Staff writer

Evolving the MBA so leaders can successfully keep themselves ahead of the curve

Updated: May 21, 2019

Andrew Main Wilson cites lifelong learning and technology as key drivers of business

By Andrew Main Wilson, CEO of the Association of MBAs and Business Graduates Association

The unprecedented changes impacting the world of business are giving business schools the chance to reinvent the management rule book, putting sustainability and innovation firmly into the mind-sets of today’s and tomorrow’s leaders. Versatility is demanded of the

MBA and AMBA research shows that being innovative and creative in MBA delivery is the biggest challenge facing business schools.


The impact of MOOCs only scratches the surface of developments that stand to revolutionize the way business education is delivered. Already, students want to learn where, when and how best fits their individual needs – yet they also want a stimulating and enjoyable experience. Perhaps that’s why the classroom remains the most dominant method of delivery, with more than four in five (82%) programs conducted in a physical building, according to AMBA’s 2018 Application and Enrolment Report, which surveyed 230 AMBAaccredited business schools across the world. However, blended learning between online and in-person methods is on the rise – its proportion has increased by six percentage points to 16%, compared with 10% last year. Augmented reality technology is also set to change the teaching approach. Instead of flying faculty members around the world, they could be beamed in via holographic telepresence to deliver lectures or entire courses in different countries and continents.

Other innovations, such as adaptive learning and artificial intelligence, are also emerging. These changes herald the end of business as usual and business schools are now beginning to embrace them.

Entrepreneurship and lifelong learning key attributes

Entrepreneurial flair and a passion for lifelong learning should be part of the MBA’s DNA. While tomorrow’s leaders will need to know how to manage complex corporations, they’ll also need the speed of thought, innovation and creativity to operate like a start-up owner. Fortunately, 66% of MBA graduates already believe that their course enabled them to see the big picture and make decisions that consider implications beyond their own companies, according to AMBA’s 2018 Careers Research. A similar proportion (67%) say they are more prepared to work in a highly competitive environment as a result of completing an MBA.

Responsible management – the lynchpin of sustainable, successful business.

The reasons people take an MBA are no longer purely financial. Our research indicates MBAs also want to pursue something “worthwhile” and make a difference.

The opportunities are certainly there. The planet’s resources are finite, while political instability and social inequality are prevailing issues. As the global labor market becomes increasingly heated and economies remain volatile, we need leaders who want to put the interest of the common good

ahead of their own. AMBA – along with its sister brand, the Business Graduates Association (BGA) – work to advance business education throughout the world and sustainability is central to achieving this. Sustainability is a core principle of AMBA and BGA accreditation criteria and all AMBA-accredited MBA curricula and BGA-accredited business schools must emphasize the impact of sustainability, ethics and risk management on business decisions, performance, and society as a whole. The MBA has always been respected – and always will be. It provides skills required not just by multinationals, but also by non-profit organizations, SMEs and start-ups. However, now that approaches to taking an MBA are evolving, our role is to ensure that business schools stay ahead of the curve.

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